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Philippines secured $800M worth of loans for COVID-19 booster shots —DOF

The Philippines has so far secured $800 million or about P40 billion worth of loan financing from multilateral development banks to ensure adequate government funds for the procurement of COVID-19 booster shots, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOF said it has signed a $250-million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and another $250-million loan deal with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in December 2021.

Likewise, a $300-million loan accord with the World Bank (WB) was also inked in December.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the DOF is waiting for the opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the effectivity of the financing agreements.

"We expect everything, we expect [these loans] to be effective around, towards the latter part of January. So that will give us funds to purchase our COVID booster shots," said Agabin.

The Finance official also said that the DOF withdrew $80 million from the World Bank’s $500-million 4th Disaster Risk Management Development Program with a Catastrophic Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT-DDO4) last December 27 to support the national government’s disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts in provinces devastated by Typhoon Odette.

?"Within the week we will draw again $120 million from the same loan facility from the World Bank, that’s equivalent to P6 billion to fund the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in connection with ‘Odette’," said Agabin.

Agabin also said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay have issued Revenue Regulations (RR)  No. 22-2021 extending the tax filing and payment deadlines in the six regions declared by President Rodrigo Duterte under a state of calamity because of Odette.

These are the regions of Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon—Palawan), Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga, which were declared under a one-year state of calamity starting December 21, 2021.

All December 2021 deadlines for filing and payment of tax returns, filing of tax refund applications (including of 12% value-added tax or VAT), processing of VAT refunds, as well as the statutory period to issue assessment notices and warrants of distraint and levy were moved 30 days later to various dates in January 2022 under the RR. —Ted Cordero/KBK, GMA News